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The State, National Guard, And FEMA Step In To Relieve Kentucky Hospitals

AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

Kentucky state government is marshalling extra resources to help struggling healthcare facilities as the COVID-19 surge shows no signs of slowing. 

Gov. Andy Beshear announced the state, National Guard, and FEMA are all being called on to aid overburdened hospitals.

Kentucky is using federal virus relief dollars to take on COVID testing at several hard-hit hospitals where residents are showing up at the ER for testing, diverting much-needed staff away from emergency cases. Meanwhile, the state is deploying more National Guard members to between three and five healthcare facilities starting September 1. They’ll be working a variety of jobs to free up medical staff.

And finally, Beshear said FEMA has agreed to send EMS strike teams – in form of 30 staff and 15 ambulances. The governor said hospitals cite among their problems "not having enough ambulances and emergency personnel, first responders, to transfer people between hospitals when they've needed to, or to run regular runs around counties because people are either out with COVID or there are that many people who are really sick and need help." 

The EMS teams will arrive in Lexington Friday. The state is awaiting word from the federal government on a separate request for nursing strike teams as well.

Josh James fell in love with college radio at Western Kentucky University's student station, New Rock 92 (now Revolution 91.7). After working as a DJ and program director, he knew he wanted to come home to Lexington and try his hand in public radio.